Homicides in Philadelphia for 2021 Surpass 400 After Weekend Shootings

By GQ Pan
GQ Pan
GQ Pan
September 27, 2021 Updated: September 27, 2021

Two people were killed in Philadelphia on Sept. 25, pushing the city’s total number of homicide victims this year past 400, a milestone that has only been surpassed once since 2007.

Two men, ages 35 and 28, were shot multiple times in South Philadelphia at about 9:30 p.m., according to CBS Philly, citing the Philadelphia Police Department. Both were taken to Penn Presbyterian Medical Center, where the younger man died of his injuries and the 35-year-old is in critical condition.

Another shooting that took place about an hour later left a 39-year-old man dead and two people injured, police said.

“I am heartbroken and outraged that we’ve lost over 400 Philadelphians to preventable violence already this year,” Mayor Jim Kenney said in a statement released to The Philadelphia Inquirer. “I want all residents to know that our administration takes this crisis very seriously and we’re acting with urgency to reduce violence and save lives.”

Neither of the two Saturday shootings has so far led to an arrest. According to Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner, just 29 percent of homicides and 15 percent of nonfatal shootings in the city result in arrests.

“We should all be outraged that senseless, preventable violence continues to claim and break lives here in Philadelphia and in communities across the country that are also experiencing alarming increases in gun violence,” Krasner said in a Sept. 26 statement. “We have seen cycles of increased homicides before, and we have more research and data than ever on which to formulate solutions.”

Solutions to the homicide surge start with investment in children, according to Krasner. He said that would include providing all children with “safe, structured learning environments” in buildings free of neurotoxins, regular access to nutritious meals, and reliable after-school options.

As for the criminal justice system, Krasner argued that institutions must be “restructured” to make violence prevention their “true priority.” He said that would mean using forensic technologies to solve shootings with no witnesses or not caught on camera, and “shoring up” training and staffing for homicide and nonfatal shooting investigations.

The news comes as the United States saw a nearly 30 percent increase in homicides in 2020 compared to 2019—the largest single-year increase ever recorded by the FBI.

According to the FBI’s latest Uniform Crime Report (UCR), there were 21,570 homicides in the United States in 2020. The overall violent crime rate, including murder, assault, robbery, and rape, was up by 5.6 percent from the 2019 number, while property crimes continued to decline and dropped by 8 percent from 2019.

The actual numbers are likely to be even higher, considering that just 15,897 of the 18,619 federal and local law enforcement agencies eligible to participate in the UCR program voluntarily submitted their crime data to the FBI last year.

GQ Pan